I haven’t watched professional wrestling since 1985. I was a high school sophomore at that point, and my social life was screaming for me to grow out of it and move forward.
Up until then, I had been a hardcore fan. My friends and I made frequent trips to the UIC Pavilion to see monthly AWA cards featuring superstars like The Fabulous Freebirds, the Road Warriors, George “The Animal” Steele, Baron von Raschke, and Jesse “The Body” Ventura. We made posters, we bought the programs, and we loved every minute.
I was pretty aware of the fact that everything I saw was pure theater, but that didn’t bug me. It was like watching comic book heroes and villains come to life, only bloodier.
One I made up my mind to leave wrestling behind, no distraction could take me off point. I had no interest, for instance, in the initial round of Wrestlemanias. Not even Hulk Hogan vs. King Kong Bundy could turn me around.
Similarly, I didn’t pay much attention as the faces of Steve Austin and the Rock were seen on the black t-shirts of America’s acne-faced youth throughout the ’90s.
Moreover, I couldn’t even bother to send flowers after learning that Andre the Giant had been fatally dropkicked by heart failure in 1993.
Until this morning, pro wrestling fandom had been a long-buried facet of my life.
I accidentally started thinking about wrestling on my way in to work. I was listening to “Rumble” by Link Wray, and my brain somehow segued to “Missing Link Wray.” From there, I thought about deceased wrestling curio the Missing Link. For reference:
Then I wondered how many different combinations of classic rock stars and classic wrestlers I could come up with. This is, unfortunately, how my mind works. I took to Twitter, and my first round included:
Roddy Piper at the Gates of Dawn
Nikolai Volkoff Broadway
Bob Harley Race and the Wailers
Bruno Sammartina Turner
Sting (get it?)
Whenever I launch into goofy wordplay games like this, I’m almost immediately humbled by my friends, who are way more clever than I. My friends Justin, Justin, and Chris were responsible for the following:
Hacksaw” Jim Morrison
Dusty Springfield Rhodes
Jake “Whitesnake” Roberts
Jimmy “Supertramp” Snuka
Stone Cold Steve Boston
Extra credit goes to my friend Dan for serving up Andre They Might Be Giants.
Stretching out from classic rock and making things more contemporary, I added:
Captain Lou Barlow
Speaking of which, Nick Bockwinkel was always a favorite.